Howarth of London showroom and workshops are now open.

From Monday 6th July we are able to offer instore instrument testing.


When is the shop open?

The shop is now open to the public from Monday to Friday between 10.00am and 5.00pm.. From 11th July, we are trialling Saturday opening between 10.00am and 4.30pm

We continue to stock our wide range of instruments, reeds, music and accessories as usual but in order to keep our customers and staff safe, as well as complying with government guidelines, the shop will be operating differently to normal.

There will be fewer staff working than usual to enable us to maintain social distancing and we will ask all customers visiting the shop to follow instructions given by staff and signage.

Who can visit the shop?

We can only allow one family group into each department at any one time and may need to request that you queue outside the shop as marked until we can serve you, allowing the previous customers space to exit the shop before you enter.

Can I have an online consultation?

We also offer online consultations, please contact us for more info.

Can I handle anything?

On entering the shop, we request that you use the hand sanitiser provided before examining any goods. We believe that social distancing and regular cleaning offer the best form of protection for everyone and have modified the layout of the shop to enable you to interact with our staff whilst still maintaining safe distance.

How can I pay?

Please note that payments in the shop will be by card only.

Can I test an instrument?

Yes, with certain conditions. We have identified suitable large rooms instore with good ventilation where we can allow instruments to be tested by customers. To ensure your safety, and in line with our instrument handling policy, we will initially only be offering instrument testing by appointment, subject to the following conditions:

  • You are not displaying any symptoms of Covid19 or have been advised to self-isolate by the contact tracing service.
  • All appointments must be made at least 72 hours in advance.
  • You advise us of which instruments you would like to try at the time of booking
  • You will use your own reed and / or mouthpiece. New reeds (and mouthpieces!) are available to buy if necessary.
  • You will not play any instrument whilst a member or staff or any person not from your household is in the testing room.
All instruments will be checked over and then cleaned and quarantined in line with our instrument handling policy before and after your visit. The testing room will be sanitised before and after your visit by staff equipped with appropriate PPE. We hope that everyone who wishes to try instruments in store will be able to do so with these arrangements in place.

Are Howarth doing repairs?

Our workshops are open for repairs, but this must be booked before travelling to the shop. Please use the bassoon shop (no.37) door for all repair appointments.

Please see our instrument handling policy which details the steps we are taking to prevent transmission via instruments.

Thank you all for your ongoing custom and support.
The team at Howarth of London look forward to welcoming you back and we hope that the changes we have made will be temporary and short lived.

Instrument handling policy - July 2020

Due to the Covid -19 pandemic, Howarth of London has a responsibility to all our customers and staff to prevent the risk of transmission through handling and using musical instruments.

  • All instruments coming into the shop must be pulled through and dry inside the bore before they are brought to us.
  • All instruments will be quarantined for 72 hours from the point of arrival and clearly labelled and marked with a red sticker to record the date and time received.
  • We will also treat smaller instruments with UV light as part of this process when deemed appropriate, but we consider that putting the instrument through a quarantine period is the most effective method of limiting transmission.

Safety marking of instruments

After this time, instruments will be marked with a green sticker and will be available to be handled. After handling, all instruments will be disinfected with suitable disinfectant wipes on the outside surfaces.

If the instrument needs to be play tested for any reason, it will be mopped out to dry the inside by the person who played it with their designated pull through, which will be washed each evening.

The keywork and body will be wiped over with a disinfectant wipe and the instrument will be re-labelled with a new red sticker with the details of who tested it along with the date and time. A new quarantine period will be started to ensure that, as far as practically possible, the instrument is free from contamination. It is then free to be returned to a customer or tried by someone else or another member of staff.

Instrument testing

Howarth of London is able to offer instrument testing in our London show rooms from Monday 6th July 2020.

We have identified suitable large rooms instore with good ventilation where we can allow instruments to be tested by customers. To ensure your safety, and inline with our instrument handling policy, we will initially only be offering instrument testing by appointment, subject to the following conditions:

  • You are not displaying any symptoms of Covid19 or have been advised to self-isolate by the contact tracing service.
  • All appointments must be made at least 72 hours in advance.
  • You advise us of which instruments you would like to try at the time of booking
  • You will use your own reed and / or mouthpiece. New reeds (and mouthpieces!) are available to buy if necessary.
  • You will not play any instrument whilst a member or staff or any person not from your household is in the testing room.

All instruments will be checked over and then cleaned and quarantined in line with our instrument handling policy before and after your visit. The testing room will be sanitised before and after your visit by staff equipped with appropriate PPE. We hope that everyone who wishes to try instruments in store will be able to do so with these arrangements in place.

For general purchases and enquiries we are open Monday to Saturday for walk in customers, please follow instructions and signage when visiting the store. We also offer online consultations, please contact us for more info.

Emergency repairs

We regret that at present we are unable to carry out on the spot and emergency repairs under our current quarantine procedure.


We will treat and handle instruments and accessories in such a way that, if COVID-19 is present, it is removed on arrival at our premises and is not (re-)introduced onto them prior to their being sold / sent to customers.

We will minimise the risk of staff bringing COVID-19 onto the premises and thereby unwittingly transmitting it to other staff, the shop premises, retail stock and our customers.


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London Hours
M-F:  10am - 5pm
Sat:  10am - 4.30pm
Sun:  Closed